What use are low grade A2s?

(23 Posts)
Draylon Tue 06-Oct-15 16:28:52

Reposted from FE as no traffic!

Serious question:

If you're heading towards non-university entry style grades, is there much point in doing A2s?

A friend of mine's DS wasn't very academic, went to 6th form, ended up with a D grade history A2, and some sort of BTec in a type of business studies.

He is now looking at a middling apprenticeship; but the sort of level he is looking at, he could have got into with some GCSEs and maybe a BTec.

I should add that my friend is the one who dryly pointed all this out to me-but my question is, really, so as to learn from what she sees as his mistake, would my DS, currently doing ASs, be better off heading into some sort of apprenticeship or go more 'BTeccy' now, rather than leave 6th form with, say C/D-E? <wibble> in Maths A2, C/D in Economics and B/C in Geography?

He'd be highly unlikely to go to uni with those grades, but nor would I encourage him to rack up a £40,000 debt to go to a low-ranking college to get a useless degree.

I think far too many DC go to 6th form to do a cobbled together mess of unrelatable subjects and effectively waste a couple of years. We, inc DS, thought, at 15, he was on track for good GCSEs (esp in Maths and sciences), decent A2s and maybe even a RG uni for a science/engineering degree. He's done OK at GCSE but largely a grade below 'predicteds'. He's doing 4 x ASs inc Maths ('B' at GCSE...) but a month in, I don't feel he's engaging with his ASs. He's still being very much 'near enough is good enough'; homework takes all evening whilst getting up, wandering around, Skype'ing mates etc. All the traits that caused him to effectively 'blow' his GCSEs.

I am not so much 'cross' with him, more examining alternatives when if his AS results reflect his on-going immaturity. I don't think he'll fail, as such, he'll probably scrape into at least 2, poss 3 A2s. But should he?

So, my Q remains- do you think he'd be better off abandoning this academic trajectory if it's all a bit lacklustre before he, too, ends up with an unrelatable mishmash of lacklustre grades at A2?

ThroughThickAndThin01 Tue 06-Oct-15 16:44:03

Are you asking should he just stop doing A levels and do an apprenticeship instead?

Has he any idea what he wants to do? Job wise?

I understand what you are saying about spending £'s on going to uni for a useless degree. But....if there is something he wants to do which might be more vocational I wouldnt necessarily disregard it is that's what he would like to aim for. My eldest DS, didnt do A levels, he was trying to become a pro sportsman with limited success and just scraped a pass in a btec he was doing alongside sport. He then did a foundation year at uni, and is now studying for a degree in Accounting and Finance, which will hopefully help him with a career if the sport doesnt work out.

noblegiraffe Tue 06-Oct-15 17:36:52

If he got a B in maths GCSE and isn't working his arse off, I'm afraid he's probably headed for a U, maybe an E at AS, at which point you won't even be thinking about A2 as he won't be allowed to progress.

He can do 3 years at sixth form, so if he blows Y12, I would certainly think about transferring to a different college and doing something more vocational. Engineering BTEC?

lljkk Tue 06-Oct-15 19:45:18

They can use UCAS points for other things, like military.

Millymollymama Tue 06-Oct-15 20:28:06

Not sure this DS sounds the military type. I think a transfer to a BTec after AS would be a good idea and worth investigating. Obviously he needs to find a vocation. I am not entirely sure how valuable some BTecs are though. They can lead to degrees but whether they will get you into a well paid job is another matter. Qualified Engineers have degrees. The better paid ones have MEng so look into what career progression is actually available to BTec holders. It may well be best to look for an apprenticeship and be realistic/sensible about what he can do so that he actually works at it and enjoys what he is doing. The apprenticeship may include studying part time.

Not all children are equipped to study and achieve at 18. There would be no-one at the OU if everyone already had degrees. They don't and studying while you work really suits some people. I found it great and I did really well because my work helped my studies. I did loads better than many of the degree holders. Maturity helps!

Last but not least - schools like bums on seats to maintain 6th form numbers and income into the school. A levels are not the best choice for lots of children in 6th forms but often schools do not suggest any alternatives. It is often easier for young people to stay with their mates at school rather than leave and do something else.

cricketballs Tue 06-Oct-15 21:50:33

If he isn't willing to put in the effort for AS/A2 then he will fail at BTEC; BTEC requires constant assessment so students need to be working constantly otherwise they will fail.

Apprenticeships can be gained at any level, in many different areas which can eventually lead to uni, especially with engineering disciplines (and may areas prefer people to have the practical experience that apprenticeship offers rather than the pure theory of A level/graduates)

viewwater Wed 07-Oct-15 05:52:57

Draylon have you considered a Morissby assessment for your DS? It could help him realise what his strengths are and crystallise his thoughts of what he does and does n't like. That may help motivation and choice of direction. It is certainly worth trying.

backinl00p Wed 07-Oct-15 07:06:59

IME Morrisby is no better that a casual chat but costs you about £80-£90 for a few hours form filling. Then again maybe it was just us that found it a waste and if you have no idea where to get help ie school/teachers/college then it could be worth it Suppose.

viewwater Wed 07-Oct-15 07:46:31

IME it gives a good indication of profile and specific strengths relative to further education cohort plus focussed questions that at least made my DC realise what they did and didn't like. Career chats at colleges are variable depending on the personalities and how well they know the students.

BlueStringPudding Wed 07-Oct-15 11:43:38

Quite a lot of companies are starting to do 'professional apprenticeships' in business or technical roles. These often require A levels or a certain level of UCAS points. So he should look at those before deciding not to carry onto A2.

Millymollymama Wed 07-Oct-15 13:35:34

I have seen a lot of young people interviewed in newspapers who are on the A level entry apprenticeship schemes. They tend to have the grades which would easily have got them into a Russell Group university but chose to work and study, and live at home, thereby avoiding student debt. The apprenticeship schemes seem to be an alternative to university for well qualified young people but it might be that just the bright young people get interviewed and they are not typical. Definitely worth enquiring though, but I have also read competition is fierce. No easy answers really.

catslife Wed 07-Oct-15 14:25:21

Have a look at the following website OP it's fairly encouraging about low grade A2s www.brightknowledge.org/knowledge-bank/education-pathways/a-levels/whats-next-after-a-levels.
Yes there are higher level apprenticeships but there are also other courses some of which are taken at universities (or affiliated colleges) e.g. HND or foundation degree. These have lower entry qualifications than honours degrees. Students who do well can often progress onto degree study later or into employment. What I'm not sure about is how these courses are funded but it's worth finding out more (just in case). These courses tend to be offered by non RG unis (mostly former polys and colleges of HE).

Draylon Wed 07-Oct-15 17:26:26

Thanks catslife!

MitziKinsky Wed 07-Oct-15 20:15:08

Draylon, I'm pretty much place marking, as I'm in the middle of putting DD to bed....

I have a different username to one I've used previously on GCSE results therats...but we seem to have very similar DSs!

We're only a month into the first term. Don't give up all hope yet! Let's get our boys through this year then take it from there, I think we may be pleasantly surprised touches wood and crosses all fingers but you are absolutely right to do some research into alternatives. I have no idea what 16yo's who drop out of AS levels do for the rest of the academic year As I say....marking my place. smile

Draylon Tue 29-Dec-15 14:57:18

Well, here we are, 2 months later... and DS is still taking no interest in his AS's. Mocks on Monday, absolutely barest minimum revision grudgingly done. He dropped Maths AS in favour of 'Use of Maths' but frankly, I predict:

U of M: U
Physics: U
Economics: D or E
Geography D

He is being interviewed to do a 2 year Higher BTEC IT course at the nearby Tech in mid January, but he's not that enthused about that, either shock. However, what he doesn't grasp is that decisions are gradually but inexorably being taken out of his hands; that the sixth form may be less accommodating once his mock results are revealed in late January...

GasLIghtShining Fri 01-Jan-16 20:35:22

Draylon I will second the poster who said that BTEC is not an easy option. It is different. Unless your son is interested he is unlikely to do well as he will not put the effort in

My son got of mixture of grades at GCSE level without much work and I was worried as to how college would work out. He has excelled on his BTEC course and this is largely due to the fact that he is interested in the course. He is in his second year and on target for top grades and has offers from universities. You aren't going to end up at Oxford with a BTEC but there are other unis.

Has he actually said he not enthused about IT or are you presuming this from his attitude.

Hedgehoginthegarden Sat 02-Jan-16 11:33:19

Dd here has got mocks for AS level starting Monday and has done no revision yet. Promised to do some today! We'll see.
I can see its going to be the same as last year with GCSE mocks. Discussions at parents evening were "how much revision did you do?" Answer "none" and then she was told she would have to do more!
I wish she would either knuckle down and do some work or get a job and leave. She won't get a job though as she is too lazy and would have to work 9-5 or whatever, for little money and wouldn't get many holidays. And I'd make her pay board as well.
Where the hell did I go wrong?

notquiteruralbliss Sat 02-Jan-16 23:23:34

Some decent universities have foundation years designed for people who didn't do well at A level. Maybe a useful plan B.

Clobbered Sat 02-Jan-16 23:33:08

I honestly don't think there is much you can (or should) do at this stage. He doesn't sound like university material, and I agree that it would be daft to spend a load of time and money on an experience that he would probably not enjoy (other than the social side, possibly) and wind up with a useless degree and a huge debt. I'd wait and see what happens with mocks and then sit him down and tell him that you will not fund any more time-wasting. Either he gets down to work or he leaves education and gets an apprenticeship and starts making his way in life.

Megainstant Mon 14-Nov-16 06:51:42

How did he get on Draylon??

TeenAndTween Mon 14-Nov-16 11:13:07

Mega Draylon's son did his AS's but has now transferred college and is doing a Computing/IT BTEC, hoping to do well enough on it to get a university place eventually. See the BTEC support thread.

Megainstant Mon 14-Nov-16 11:27:23

Thank you!

Allthebestnamesareused Thu 17-Nov-16 20:22:15

My DS got a DUDE at As
a CDE at A2
Got a 2.1 at uni (finished last year)
Got onto a graduate training programme ( he is a charmer!) earning £60k a year after a year in his role.

Its not all deep and darkness and some people do mature later and get on with it.

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